Suffering…

One of my favorite lines from the Star Wars movies is when Yoda says to Anakin “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”.

I’m not sure how theologically sound that is, but I still get a chill every time I see Yoda’s gnarled green finger pointing at Anakin as he says those words. I think the thrill comes from knowing what the future holds for Anakin. Yoda’s words to him are prophetic. And Anakin’s fear leads him down a path of destruction. But it’s all OK, because just a few episodes later Luke will arrive on the scene and restore order to the Galaxy.

Ah… The magic of Star Wars.

If only real life was that simple.

Suffering is great, as a plot to a movie. But in reality… suffering is… well, painful. The scary thing is, the more I read God’s Word the more I realize that suffering is not only unavoidable, it’s to be expected. In fact, God says that unless we share in suffering we cannot share in His glory (Rom. 8:17).

Knowing that suffering is unavoidable doesn’t make it any easier to handle. When we turn on the news and see the devastation of earthquakes and famine. When we answer the phone and hear about a husband who’s decided he doesn’t feel like being married anymore. When the report says cancer. When the letter says foreclosure. When suffering comes we cry out… WHY?

Why would God allow this to happen?

The truth of the matter is, it’s me that allows it to happen. My sin. My depravity. My rebellion. I am the catalyst of suffering in this world. Were it not for sin, we would still live in the perfection of Eden. And we can blame it on Adam all we want, but in the end I’m responsible too.

Here’s the good news. The suffering of this world is not the suffering of one without hope. It is the suffering of one who will soon give birth. Our groanings and trials will lead to new life. The earth’s labor pains cry out to us, “This is temporary! There is more to come! There is a New Heaven and a New Earth. One day God will again dwell with man!”

That is our hope. It is our future. A future without pain, or tears, or suffering. A future with no orphans, or widows. The question is… are our hearts wrapped up in eager expectation of that future hope, or are we obsessed with fretting over our current sufferings?

I thnk I need a change of heart…

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